Manifesto of the Appearance: How to create scenes to mesmerise a billion people
The key to the success of the Appearance is how quickly we forget.
The world is maya. You must not fall for it. The appearance will show you how not to. Step inside.
The appearance is constructed out of naked ambition. The appearance is constructed, it is a shell made of what appeals to those who must be seduced. Every element of the presence is crafted meticulously and adapted to context. Its voice, its tone, its look, its gestures, its gait, its props, its company.
The grander the spectacle, the less thinking required. The appearance is grand. The scenery is spectacular. Thus gobsmacked audiences are turned in dolls that respond to the shadowplay on the walls of Plato’s cave.
The appearance evokes emotion in a stone-still, awed audience. Stimuli to evoke emotional responses are provided — chants, sound bytes, god imagery, mother, cow, family… any totem and the correct emotional responses are rewarded with further stimulation. Collective emotion is then an energy that can be harnessed to power the motor of the appearance.
Simply emulate line for line the hierarchies, power structures, rituals, spectacles and performances already in place for millennia. It’s all there, adapt it. “God” is a willing accomplice, use it. Priests are willing servants, use them. Some saints are unwilling figureheads, that’s alright, appropriate them. Devotees will worship anything, enslave them. But now that religion and state have purportedly been separated, the appearance works hand in hand with religion in the hopes of returning to that eden that heaven that glorious state of enlightened existence of ultimate control when all was golden.
The appearance will return you to the past with its visions for the future.
When you look clean, wear white, eat no onion, no egg, and speak of only good, positive things you are pure. The appearance teaches you how to look pure. Clean your own space and you are pure. Build a toilet that doesn’t work and you are pure. Only surfaces need to be cleaned. You are also pure when you stand next to the impure. Therefore the appearance decides who is impure and gets you to stand next to them. Some are born impure by a default determined by a millennia-old hierarchy. The appearance inherits defaults and efficiently deploys them.
The hierarchy teaches that the impure deserve what they get, it is their fate. Therefore, you know that the appearance is correct in not taking their demands seriously.
Gestures are the physicality of the appearance. Rituals are gestures. Gestures serve the appearance to bring community together, to keep communities apart. With the right deployment of gesture, you benefit from the appearance. So pay attention, learn the moves and do the right thing.
God is where foot-soldiers outsource their guilt when they indulge their inhumanity. To do evil, one must be remorseless. When conscience is outside the body, when it lies in a guru, a confession box, a temple, a god, in shareholder value, in the board’s demands, in profit, then automatically any cognitive dissonance is dissipated. Thus the guru has a function and the tools of the appearance carry on its agenda smoothly.
To be successful you must be utterly detached. The more detached you are from humanity, the easier it is to employ human widgets towards your agenda. Any CEO with his Billions will tell you this. Any ganglord will tell you this. Any Guru in his mansion deep in the forest he stole with the appearance’s help from the indigenous peoples will tell you this. Nirvana is achieved when you are separated so far from your actions that they cannot be traced back to you. Physical distance from your duty is what is meant by detachment in the appearance.
An actor is the leader, the leader is an actor. Acting and leading can be substituted for one another. A celebrity commands follower-ship therefore a celebrity is a leader. The appearance is about creating celebrity. Celebrity is fun, work is for losers.
The appearance draws from, partners with and wishes it were the greatest spectacle on earth. The machinery of Bollywood has come close to perfecting this methodology and presentation. Bollywood is pure self-interest. Could there be a better partner? Sometimes, late at night, wistful thoughts appear — perhaps all that the appearance wanted was really just a break in Bollywood, a few minutes under the sun. Had that wish been fulfilled, there wouldn’t have been this appearing to be actor. One could just have been an actor.
Loudness is a measure of greatness. The appearance is very loud. In sound, in noise, in flash, in presence. You will be on sensory-overload and thus you will be the subject. You will be overwhelmed by the volume of WhatsApp forwards you receive, the Facebook messaging and ads purchased. Thus you will submit.
Infrastructure dazzles. Multilane superhighways, brutalist buildings, glass and chrome elevated corridors, massive statues, smart cities, techno-utopianism, automation, space, height, pace.
Every selling point must be inflated. It must be made hyperreal. Every gathering a show of strength, every statue the tallest in the world, every song a Grammy winner, every train a bullet, every head a UNESCO certified best most impressive winner to have ever graced that throne.
The best model minority minds love BigDataAnalyticsMachineLearningArtificialIntelligence. They will model, graph, visualise victory. They will extrapolate, predict, rationalise and surpass guru Nate Silver at Sanjay-ing the proceedings. Data is immortal, humans dead.
Cities are smart, humans are shells. The appearance is dressed in copper, silver and light, in steel and glass. It is cold, polished, chromed, smooth. Distant horizon in the clouds. You are chosen so you fly to it, the smog won’t touch you.
God is all-seeing. He watches you with his smooth round 360 degree eye. God is all-knowing. He knows all because you willingly whisper everything in his ear. He is everywhere because you put him there. He sees your face, he hears your voice, he reads your encrypted messages as he sits on your nightstand. He gives you points and trains you to use the rating system for the good of all, and especially of the few.
Content is only relevant to the extent of amplifying the appearance. Content isn’t necessary at all. If it happens to exist, it is useful for feeding the construction. Genuine, meaningful engagement is resource wastage for appearances. Why spend energy doing, when nothing needs to be done to project a story?
Simply use the logic of logical fallacies to drive argumentation. Appeal to authority, appeal to faith, appeal to popularity, tell anecdotes, put the burden of proof on critics. Most importantly, attack ad hominem. There are fundamental biological reasons why logical fallacies have such tight grips on minds, and so the appearance simply has to emulate these techniques.
Facts are what the appearance tells you. The appearance gaslights with hot air.
Only what the appearance tells you is true.
The appearance projects discipline which is what you crave, not having it yourself. Discipline is what holds structures solid and you crave stability for your middle-of-the-road existence. You love control. It’s what you wreak on your children, anyone below you in your hierarchy because you lack self-control. You get off on being controlled by those above you in your hierarchy. Therefore you get off the hardest at the very top of that disciplined pyramid.
The appearance merely uses the existing structure that has been conveniently stable forever. The existing structure has a manual, there are clear directions of who’s the boss, who’s to be kicked and how to kick whom. An entire organised middle already exists to willingly bear weight and then crush down while sucking up, so all the appearance has to do is to install itself at the apex. The hierarchy is that fractal triangle thing where every triangle knows its power and how to deploy it downwards. Any Corporate Org-Chart uses this as the blue-print.
Instability is unwelcome. But the appearance has nothing much to do, because the hierarchy is self-correcting. Stability must be maintained, so nails that stick out will be hammered down by other nails. The appearance doesn’t even have to provide the hammer, just a gentle nudge.
You are of course only fair. You can see both sides from your perch on the fence. The terrain is flat and the most oppressed are exactly the same as the most powerful — to you they are simply all human and each entitled to their own morality, what? You are committed to meritocracy and in your wisdom you developed out of your own hard work and guru’s blessings, you can see how all humans are just exactly the same. And you are right, because you are in the centre, the most logical place a balanced and fair person could occupy.
A desperate human will do whatever it takes to survive. They will speak against their own selves. If it means that they sing paeans to the appearance as it mocks them, so be it. Thus the desperate human is assimilated into the appearance against their wishes.
The weakest of the weak are scheduled for elimination. Thus resources need not be redistributed, and those in the middle will sing the appearance’s praises for all the “development” it has caused so efficiently and effectively. Who has eyes to see the weakest of the weak anyway? Simply push them to the margins, shove them into the cracks. Dehumanise them.
The appearance narrows and flattens vision. A systemic view is eliminated and you are trained with your blinders to focus on surface localisations. Thus, you will be limited to local impacts, and won’t see repercussions reverberating through the system. You will not see beyond your own nose. You will not be able to connect dots beyond the few you see and you will be cut off from seeing deeply. Your solutions seem like solutions to you but are actually band-aids. You feel satisfied at coming up with solutions. You will be rewarded by your network of jealous peers at glittering functions for coming up with solutions.
The hierarchy guides you smoothly. You are meant to do what you are born to do. You will specialise in it and think you are successful when you fall into groove and live out your lifetime. You are never distracted by systemic concerns. You tell the dehumanised to just work harder for this is a flat, fair meritocracy.
It’s actually very simple. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Repeat till it is true. Because the unquestioning mind will create false memories of what is true and true memories of what is false. Repeat the image, repeat the word, repeat the word as an image. What appears again and again is what is imprinted. What is not said, what you have to work out for yourself is too hard to decipher, is too much work. So if you simply see something again and again, you will remember it. If it is shown to you, you don’t have to show yourself anything, you don’t have to figure out the questions to ask, you don’t have to ask. The job of appearances is to relieve you of this hard work. See, so optimised!
When a mistake is made, it must be replaced, not rectified, not regretted and certainly never apologised for. Replace it with anything that reinforces the supremacy of the appearance.
When a spade is called a spade, the appearance will reframe this calling as being negative, cynical or fatalist. Be positive, see the bright side. Look at all these people benefitting from development who cares about stray incidents from appearance-inspired violence. Mistakes will be reframed to highlight what is beneficial to the appearance.
When extreme violence occurs inspired by the appearance, it will be reduced to an outlier. Uneven terrain will be reduced to a flatland, a level-playing field. What inequality? It is a flatland. From your vantage point in the hierarchy, there is only the sky. There is only meritocracy. So anyone who complains can be reduced to “identity politics” or “cancel culture”.
I can’t feel the terrain from my luxury vehicle with its technology to absorb shocks. Therefore, bumps do not exist.
Extreme bigots are exactly equal to those extremely against bigotry because both are extreme. Bigots are exactly equal to Anti-Bigots because both have the word Bigot in them. The appearance makes it all flat so you don’t have to tax yourself with thinking. The appearance needs your energies elsewhere.
Tangential imagery is used, that diverts away from any unwanted situation that does not serve the appearance. Strawmen are created. Using diversions that evoke strong emotions are best. Replace memories of the mistake with new memories from the diversion — imprints of circus images that evoke strong emotions in service of what must appear.
When a mistake is made and it is called out, it must immediately be projected onto those calling it out. There is absolutely no need to refute with patience or engage in civil dialogue these take up too much time. Just turn it right around, it is more efficient and energy won’t be expended.
Turning right around is also used to rebrand poison as manna. When the appearance dehumanises, it calls its action humanist; when the appearance takes unilateral decisions, it calls it action collaborative; when the appearance blacks out communication, it calls its action as enabling transparency. The appearance shuts your phone and then calls you, to show everyone how nice it is to call you. But you don’t answer — so you are at fault and so, punished again for not answering.
When a mistake is made it is unmade by denial. Deny, deny, deny. The image of the denial replaces the image of the mistake. The next time the same mistake is made, the image of the denial is what comes to the fore of the mind. Thus, the mistake becomes the norm.
Thus the mistake remains and is not corrected. Over time the familiarity of the mistake that has remained normalises it and it becomes reconciled with any discomfort.
When the other side makes points calling the appearance out, simply co-opt the point and label the opposition with it. If you are fake, call the other a fake. If you are evil, call the other evil. Simply deflect and stick the label on the other. It is fast and efficient and it will not be their time to waste and their energy to defend themselves.
Conversely, when it needs to take inhuman action, the appearance labels itself humanist, it appropriates symbols of decency and wears them as labels it gives itself.
The appearance never, ever, ever gives credit. It hoovers ideas from elsewhere, but you know these were always its own ideas and you love how it comes up with such brilliant ideas.
Appearance absorbs dissenters’ idols, talking points, symbols into itself. Thus it chips away at the dissenters’ base and confuses the base into switching sides.
This is a sort of deflection. Dissenters will be made an example of. Revolters cast as offenders. Initially there will be shock even from those in the thrall of the appearance but the brazenness will quickly be normalised, as fake memories created by the punishment replace the shock as it dissipates.
One hand orchestrates violence, the other comforts. The mouth smiles benevolence, and denounces violence and hate while the other mouth issues orders to mutilate, violate and devastate. Any cognitive dissonance is resolved in your mind because you’d never believe such a mouth could ever go wrong.
Whatever nefarious means used to get into power are to be denounced once in power. So violence, double talk, hate speech are perfectly legit to get into power. The appearance takes the high road once it is power to appear like a statesman. Statesmen are above the law, too.
The appearance will absorb you into its Bollywood Holodeck. You will comply, because it is warm and fuzzy in there. IRL is now inside.
Another inversion is when issues are inverted. So if you’re fighting against poison, the appearance will say IT is fighting against poison and that YOU are poison. IT will play identity politics and say that YOU are playing it.
One would think appearances would be like apparitions, shimmering fragile mirages. Yes they are but they are hard as stone walls. They cannot be scratched, they construct themselves to be impenetrable. There are no cracks, the surface is oiled by the tongues of foot-soldiers.
Communication will strictly be unidirectional. It will broadcast while you let it pour over you. No questions asked, and if ever any are asked, they will be scripted and rehearsed to suit the appearance. Only those anointed by the appearance to play bit parts will get to perform the questioning as per script.
Illusions can twist themselves inside out. They flow into whatever container is most conducive to reinforce their appearance. A lion now, a mouse then. Whatever works for the appearance to further itself.
The penchant for shapeshifting aids with extreme cases where a complete turn inside out is required. The appearance has no bounds it will recast itself in any mould it likes. It is truly free to be whatever it wants to be.
The worst criminal will be cast a saint with a change of costume, literally. Purity is as purity appears.
The appearance will come at you from every possible channel. Thus your memories of what is and what should be will be reinforced.
All channels of image creation must be usurped. The appearance must make itself present in every possible direction. It will race through networks.
The appearance is a web of mutual interests. There is no interaction without an evaluation, a calculation, a balancing of opportunities and agendas.
It is imperative that feedback loops are always active to keep the appearance alive and healthy. Simple repetition from one strong source is one aspect, another is a mechanism to spread echoes in all directions to reinforce the repetition.
Sell, sell, sell yourself. Always be selling. Every opportunity is a sales opportunity.
There Is No Alternative, you see. No, you don’t see that there are always alternatives. The appearance takes over your every sense and thus there cannot be any other alternative.
Of course you have a choice. All sorts of choices designed for you by the appearance that all lead you down the path of enriching the appearance.
At first there will be only 1 option. You won’t know that you have other options, so you will automatically click. Because you fundamentally believe in good. Then when you seem to become aware of having clicked on a trap, you are immediately presented with options. But you see, you already chose the first option. It is the only option.
Memories are short, and the need to move on is strong. With time, memory fades. New impulses are sought, new desires replace the old.
Every atrocity will be reframed words that are “pleasant sounding abstractions” as Huxley put it. To find those words, the highest religious book will be consulted. It already has all the answers and everyone’s faith. Jai Shree Ram, it says.
Religion already showed us the way. The appearance gets you to sing Lord’s praises a million times in a simple tune with an even simpler trance-beat. It blares jingles non-stop that are soap-selling dope, imprinting brand-names into your memory.
Use sound bytes. Rope in influencers who will prop you up with truisms and positivism. The appearance is about fear. It must project pain, power, weapons. It counterbalances itself by nurturing those who are also about fear but provide the balm. These will be the offerers of balm since any such offer by the appearance will diminish its frightening, powerful presence.
Wear down haters and disbelievers and they will assimilate. Again time is on your side. With time as they bang their heads against a wall and as they find themselves swimming in waters closing in on them, they will assimilate.
Mediocrity lulls. It causes engagement without boredom. It is entertaining and relaxing, which is what you need after a day’s work made harder than necessary by a relentless machine friend of the appearance’s. You are sated and so have no need to inquire, no need to question, no need to think.
A bored audience is a sleepy audience. It has been lulled with the drones and chants. Those asleep do not speak and obviously don’t question, they sleepwalk into the appearance.
Cognitive dissonance does’t exist. Compartments are so watertight that hate in one context is love in another. Geography is an aid to this process of solidifying boundaries. The greater the physical geographical distance is between what the compartments represent, the stronger the walls the separate the compartments.
Appearances sustain themselves on the back of history. Others have done the work and constructed the precedent and the foundation of institutions and welfare structures. All the appearance has to do is claim the work as its own. It needn’t even do that. Because the capital already created in the eyes of the larger world outside can be claimed by the appearance for itself. The world still sees that capital and the appearance can hide behind it.
The middle is key. It will buttress. It will feed the appearance. It will be nurtured with shows of strength that dazzle, with promises of gold, a golden future, meritocracy for its children. It will close its eyes to inequality, injustice, hate — as long as the golden dream of success is projected before its eyes. Who will rock the boat if food is on the table and vacations and cars and bungalows and private schools and Ivy Leagues perfectly within reach.
They’re all around. The appearance feeds them bits of its power pellets and they feed it energy right back. It’s a growth story.
The appearance is very very, very hungry for money. And anyone who identifies with the appearance will pay. So it will seduce and you will pay. It is self-fulfilling and it will be the highest paid, most expensive, most funded show where the spectator consumes himself consuming what is built off of his own image and will pay for the spectacle with all that he’s got.
There is no shame in doing your duty, your dharma. Don’t be afraid, don’t be ashamed. Just do it. You were born into your station in life only to carry out your duty. The Gita said so. Krishna is on your side. Ram is on your side.
Appearance’s ultimate goal is power. When it is one with the supreme being, it is the all-powerful. Every religion has already taught you this so why will you be in disagreement with the appearance’s quest for power?
When a mistake is made, someone will pay with their lives and limbs. But that won’t be you as long as you passively, unquestioningly consume what makes its appearance to you.